What's your wish list for iOS 7

iOS 14 Wish List: How the iPhone Gets to the Next Level

Jason Cross

Last year, after the debut of iOS 12, our author compiled a list of features he was hoping for in iOS 13. And Apple has listened - again!

EnlargeiOS goes into round 14: Ten wishes for the Udpate

Okay, so it's unlikely anyone at Apple actually read my article and changed a single line of code as a result, but the company released some of the features in iOS 13 that I asked for.

But there is still a lot to do. So many more features and significant changes that seem easy to identify (if not easy to develop) that would make the iPhones more useful. Many of the features I want are small and not worth prioritizing (e.g. multiple timers). Here is a list of the ten biggest, most far-reaching features I hope for in iOS 14.

Note: Now that iOS and iPadOS are technically separate, this list no longer includes iPad-specific features - that's a different list! Also, there are features that I would love to see that require new iPhone hardware that are not included here. These are features I would like to see for all iPhone models that could run on iOS 14.

1. Stability above all else

After a surprisingly smooth release of iOS 12, iOS 13 was fraught with problems. The release schedule was staggered and incoherent, and Apple continued to fix significant bugs well into 2020. There have been reports that Apple changed its development process again to improve reliability, and that can't come soon enough. The most important keywords for iOS 14 should be "stability" and "performance". More than any new feature, the number one priority should be making sure the first version of iOS 14 is fast, fluid, and trouble-free for the hundreds of millions of devices it will run on.

It's probably expecting too much to release all of its major iOS features at once, but Apple should be honest about the staggered release. Cupertino should let us know what features will appear in a future iOS point release update so we can meet expectations (and so Apple developers don't rush to hit an unrealistic ship date).

2. A smarter Siri (again)

Apple improves Siri every year. In iOS 13, it gave the assistant a softer and more natural sounding voice. The SiriKit framework has also been expanded to include support for music, podcasts, and other audio applications. Both are nice additions (especially the second), but not nearly what we have in mind when keeping our fingers crossed for a dramatically improved Siri every year.

Last year I wrote this about Siri when describing my hopes for iOS 13:

Siri still lags far behind the Google Assistant and Alexa in terms of its ability to answer common questions and gracefully perform actions with third-party hardware and services. There are so many obvious shortcomings; You can do a Spotlight search for a flight number and get detailed flight information, but ask Siri and you will just get a web search.

Siri needs better speech recognition, faster response times, and more "fun" activities like trivia and games. It needs to provide more precise answers to a much wider range of questions .

All of this is still true. Siri still needs more domains for things like shopping, and both Siri and HomeKit need better support for more smart home appliances and types (why can't I add Siri to my alarm system?)

EnlargeJust another example from the / r / SiriFails subreddit the very existence of which should embarrass Apple on a daily basis.

More than anything, I'd like Apple's executives to step on the stage at WWDC with a giant Siri 2.0 logo behind them and talk about the "all new Siri," which is everything the company has learned over the past nine years , picks up and builds a whole new digital assistant for the next decade.

One who is smarter, faster, who works offline (it's shocking how often Siri doesn't!) Who better understands both your words and your intent, and who, if you wish, is more proactive when it comes to them To do things on your behalf. I would also like Apple to encourage users to choose a male or female Siri voice when setting up the phone (or when upgrading to iOS 14 for the first time) without having the female voice preset.

3. Improved dictation

When Google demonstrated its new recorder app on the Pixel 4, we couldn't help but get jealous. The smartphone made an exceptionally accurate text-to-speech transmission, in real time and entirely on the device. In fact, it was smart enough to put periods between sentences.

Of course, there is no magical hardware in the Pixel 4 that enables this feat. It's just software, and it even comes to older Pixel smartphones.

EnlargeGoogle's live transcription is impressive, but there's no reason Apple couldn't do the same on most modern iPhones.

Apple's dictation feature (tap the microphone on the keyboard) is a handy way to enter text almost anywhere, but it's slow and so inaccurate that most people don't use it. It is thanks to Apple that it works even without a network connection. But it can't keep up with a normal pace of speech, and it doesn't do a very good job of building a sentence (with correct punctuation) from your phraseology.

Apple should be more active on this playing field: the dictation should be dramatically faster and more accurate (especially with accents) and some intelligence is needed to improve the choice of words. If I say "you have a funny accent" and the dictation thinks I said, "you have a runny ax meant", it should recognize that its interpretation makes a nonsensical sentence and that other similar-sounding words make a reasonable sentence surrender. The beefed up speech-to-text engine should be used everywhere in iOS, from Siri to voice mail transcriptions (which are awful) to the voice memos app.

4. A better camera for all iPhones

With the iPhone 11, Apple has made some useful improvements to the interface of the camera app. For example, the smooth-running zoom wheel is a pleasant experience that makes controlling the zoom level easier than zooming in and out. Then there is of course the night mode, in which several seconds of exposure are combined to take breathtaking shots in dark surroundings.

EnlargeOS 13.2 added the adjustment of video frame rate and resolution in the camera app. But why only for iPhone 11?

And in iOS 13.2, Apple added the ability to change video resolution and frame rate right in the camera app instead of jumping into settings - but only on the iPhone 11. There's really no need to apply these improvements to Apple's newest smartphone restrict. Night mode might not be possible on the oldest iPhone hardware, but it's certainly something an iPhone XS and XR can pull off. And the changes to the user interface have nothing to do with the fact that they are only limited to the new smartphones.

I would love to see iOS 14 bring these and other camera enhancements to older iPhones. Apple should standardize the interface and restrict functions only to what is technically impossible on older hardware. And while I don't want Apple to overload the camera application's interface, I think a "Pro" mode, where users can set color temperature, shutter speed, and ISO, would be welcome, in keeping with the modes "Pano", "Time Lapse", "Portrait" and other modes - this gives photo freaks as much manual control as possible.

5. A new start screen

The iPhone's home screen got a bit of a makeover in iOS 7, but hasn't really changed much since then. We can now long press the app icons to get context menus, but the home screen is still a large grid of icons that cannot even be moved freely, only rearranged. The grid of symbols is unlikely to go away, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But there are many ways things can be changed without completely shaking up the iOS paradigm.

I would love if Apple introduced a dynamic icon API so that, for example, B. a weather app could change its icon according to the forecast, or the activity icon shows the colored rings in their current state. At the very least, Apple should give developers the ability to define separate application icons for light and dark mode.

If you're currently dragging down on the home screen, type in Spotlight search. Before you begin your search, Siri suggests a series of application icons based on the applications in use at the current time and location. Maybe this should (optionally) be on our home screens now that iPhones are so much bigger?

And even if Apple doesn't allow us to hide apps in an Android-style app drawer, it can at least allow us to position app icons and folders wherever we want. Currently they can be rearranged, but they always fill the screen in the order from the top left - there is no way to leave a space.

6. Notifications of need of overhaul

The notifications have improved in iOS, but they're still a bit of a mess. When you hook into the Settings app to change how apps notify you, you'll be bombarded with options. Where can you get notifications? What kind of banner style? Do you want sounds? Previews? How about the little red dot on the app icons?

EnlargeAll of these options that most users never touch and still no way to distinguish critical notifications from everyone else.

The average user never goes here and is left with the default settings for all of their applications. Those who change things have too many options to choose from and those are the wrong options. I would like Apple to narrow down the choices on the many ways that notifications are displayed and instead work on a systematic means of separating notifications into two groups: critical alerts that require immediate action and incidental things that wait can.

What the notification system on the iPhone really needs is the recognition that notifications are regularly abused by developers and are a major reason why we all overuse our smartphones. Apple should take the same systemic approach to reducing the impact of notifications in iOS 14 as it did with location tracking in iOS 13. By default, notifications should be silent and uninterrupted (no banners, no lock screen pop-ups, they just appear in the background of the notification center). Let apps define specific "high priority" notifications and have to prompt users to enable them while telling users exactly what will happen to them.

For example, Twitter notifications for "likes", retweets, and follow-ups would be silently sent to the Notification Center, but the application would ask you to allow direct "high priority" messages where they would generate alerts and sounds. The video doorbell app would have silent notifications for detected motion, but it could ask you to allow "high priority" notifications when your doorbell rings.

And let's get rid of the notification hints altogether. The little red dots on the app icons are useless remnants of an old mobile world. It has a high visual impact, but a low information density - all it can do is enter a number that, depending on the app, can mean anything. Worse, it doesn't tell you if any actions are required or what they should be. They owe their existence more to inertia than to actually improving our phone experience.

7. Always-on display with complications

The Apple Watch has a permanently on display. OLED Android smartphones have had their displays permanently switched on for years. There's no reason the OLED iPhone models can't have these too. A constantly on "sleep" screen for iPhone should be similar to the lock screen, with a few tweaks. It should show the time, date and battery life on a black background (to save battery life), but not notifications. Maybe new notifications could appear briefly and then disappear again, but we need fewer reasons to pick up our smartphones, nothing more.

EnlargeAlways-On Display and Complications: If they're good enough for Android and good enough for Apple Watch, they're good enough for iPhone too.
© Adam Patrick Murray / IDG

To that end, I'd love to see Apple take the idea of ​​the complications from Apple Watch and add them to the lock screen and the always-on idle screen. Maybe four of them flanking the clock, with standardized formats. Developers could produce complications for their apps and what they would display, and users could choose which four they would like to see.

This would be a great way to get simple information without reaching for your smartphone and diving into apps. Some of what we need we could get without even unlocking our devices. It would make the iPhone even more useful, even when it is idle, while also providing an important feature in promoting digital health and wellbeing.

8. Recording of conversations

I know recording phone calls is a bit of a sensitive legal issue, but it's just so useful that I want Apple to at least try to address it. The disclosure that one must make in order to legally record a phone call varies from country to country and state to state, but it seems that the strictest requirement is that both parties must be informed that a recording is taking place and that it is The requirement can usually be met by playing a regular audible tone (such as a "beep" every 15 seconds).

Ideally, when we enable call recording, we will simply hear "call recording enabled" followed by regular, unobtrusive beeps, none of which are actually recorded as part of the recording. The recordings can be recorded in voice memos, where they are marked with a telephone symbol and can be automatically transcribed (see Enhanced Dictation, above).

9. Integrate Shazam thoroughly

Apple bought Shazam in 2018 but didn't do much with it other than removing the ads from the app.Technically, when you ask Siri to identify a song, you're using Shazam technology, but Apple could go a lot further.

First, build Shazam right into Apple Music, with an easy-to-use "Identify This Song" button available on both the iPhone / iPad and Apple Watch. The default custom playlist for identified songs should be retained, which records the date, time, and (optionally) location.

Apple could also take inspiration from Google's pixel smartphones at one point and activate the constant identification of songs on the device. It would of course be an opt-in option, but if this is enabled, a small bar with the song that is currently playing will appear on the lock screen and in the shadow of the notification. Tap on it to jump straight to that song in Apple Music.

10. Let the user change the default apps

It is long overdue to allow users to choose their default applications for certain actions. When I tap an address I should be able to jump straight into Google Maps or Waze if I want, rather than Apple Maps. Links should be able to open in the browser of my choice, not just Safari (they all have to use Safari's paging anyway!)

You can do this on a Mac ... so what is Apple afraid of? Apple already has the benefit of having its apps pre-installed and the default choice, but allowing users to go into settings and change the default apps for certain types of actions would be a big step towards satisfying power- Users (and to contain the screams that Apple is abusing a monopoly).

In iOS 14, Apple could start small, with music, podcasts and maps, and from there expand support for standard apps. So if I changed my default music application to Spotify and asked Siri to just play a particular song, Siri would open it in Spotify without me having to specify that particular service.